Monday, July 09, 2007
An Embarrassment of Figs
I spent an hour today harvesting figs. And yesterday. And the day before. I expect I’ll do it again tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after that……
Several years ago, new to Florida, we innocently planted a little fig sapling. It arrived in a small box in the mail. There were no warnings attached. Nothing to indicate that this little sapling would grow into a monster fig tree and inundate us, for at least a month each year, with the fruit of its loins.
Our knowledge of figs was limited. I’ve heard that fig leaves were the cool thing to wear in the Garden of Eden. The OC grew up on fig newtons. I grew up on their Irish equivalent, fig rolls. They wouldn’t have made it onto a list of my ten favourite cookies. We were totally unprepared for how delicious fresh figs are, picked warm from the tree and popped directly into your mouth. Edible sunshine.
I hauled the ladder to the tree this morning to pick today’s crop. They’re ripe when they turn golden and their texture is soft. I stretched and reached and teetered, climbing up and down to deposit my loot in the bucket. Where the ladder wouldn’t go, I intrepidly went, risking life and arthritic limb.
And got scolded by a cheeky bird who ignored my efforts to shoo him, hopping from branch to branch, so close to me that I could, at considerable risk of ending up in the hospital, have reached out and throttled the bugger.
“Excuse me bird---whose fig tree is this anyway? I’m a reasonable woman. I’ll share. Just quit your squawking and flapping!” When I regaled The Bean with my bird tale later he asked ---
“Brown bird? Speckled? Long beak? Bad attitude?”
“Yes!” I said, “that’s him.”
“I know him,” he said.
“He’s the one who sits on the wire while I’m picking the blackberries,that I grew, and squawks at me, as though I was stealing from him! Yeah. His days are numbered.”
Anyhow. The purpose of this post is to beg for HELP! If anyone out there has tried-and-true recipes for using up a gazillion figs I’d love to hear about them. The neighbours are starting to bar their doors and hide when they see us coming, fig-laden. And we’ve eaten them ‘til our bellies ache. We need creative suggestions for the fig inundation. H.E.L.P!!